Blessed 2nd Birthday, Joy!
A zoo trip to kickoff Joy’s birthday weekend.
The clouds shielded us from the blazing sun half the time we were at the zoo. Thus we toured the zoo without excessive sweat. The children watched with fascination as the sea lion glided in and out of the water and splashed water at the audience. Grace finally climbed the rope course in the zoo (she would request every time we went to the zoo). Joy got to meet other animals in real life again, and not just dogs, cats or the animals in the books.
The children also had small blessings throughout the day. I couldn’t believe how blessed they were. Small yet they still lit up our day.
- We bought the bundle of three carousel rides, and so one child had to miss out on one round. But the children were gifted an extra ride on the carousel. So both of them can ride it twice in the end.
- The children were keen on the sold-out goat feeding session. Amazingly, we were then gifted a feeding session.
- After our dinner at Mama Panda restaurant, the manager gave the children a Panda sticker each. However, EX dropped hers in the toilet and she went back to ask for another. She approached the manager who was now closing the restaurant, and he gave her the whole sheet of stickers!
I felt thankful for the day as I unwind on the bed. So when I read the devotional calendar about negative circumstances, I didn’t think much about it. Yet there was a tug on my heart to post it. I did so, even when I would normally sleep in such tiredness.
The second after I published the Instagram post, my hubby came into the room and said, “I’m positive.”
I looked at him without much fluster. “I’m covid positive.” I gave a sigh, but still, I was not wildly surprised. Somehow the pessimistic me expected something like this would happen to justify the day, the blessings before the storm.
The Story of Joy’s Birthday
Joy tested positive on 28.2.22, one day before her actual birthday, what a way to remember her second birthday. Then again, her life had been so marked by negative circumstances:
- Towards the end of the first trimester: The beginning of our family’s trial and tribulations.
- Rest of the pregnancy: She had to withstand x-rays and weeks of a heavy dose of antibiotics in the tummy. I can’t repeat this enough, because she’s a thriving survivor despite these onslaughts (which were not advisable for pregnant ladies and hence the baby in the womb).
- Shortly after confinement with her, we went into Singapore’s lockdown (circuit breaker). Joy is as “old” as the pandemic in Singapore. So she had muted celebrations for her one-month, 100 days and 1-year-old birthday.
- A week before her first birthday, her paternal grandmother passed away in Malaysia and hence didn’t have the chance to meet each other. It’s supposed to be a day of celebrating life, but because my parents followed the Chinese funeral traditions, they had to mourn for 100 days instead.
- Exactly a day before her second birthday, Covid struck her.
She didn’t have much fanfare celebration for the past two years because of Covid’s restrictions. Well, at least this year, she had a mini celebration (singing of birthday song) at school before Covid struck! She also had the opportunity to bless her classmates with goodie bags. No birthday cake is allowed in school though. 🙁
If we do not believe in Christ, we might have considered her a jinx, bringing bad luck to the family.
“God, why are there so many negative circumstances since she was conceived?”
God changed my human perspective. There’s no causation — Joy didn’t bring this “bad luck”. They would have happened anyway. Joy could have from her perspective questioned why she was born to a mother or family plagued with ill health. But by God’s grace, He gave us baby Joy to bring joy despite our circumstances. The devotional calendar I posted on Instagram came to mind: “declare God’s promises instead of agreeing with negative circumstances”.
Ah yes, Joy reminds us to worship and be full of joy and not agree with the negative circumstances. Her personality does live up to her name of Joy. She had brought the family and people around her the much-needed joy and laughter.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Zoom Singalong: Blessed Birthday Joy!
27.2.22 | Sunday
Grace walked Joy out of her bedroom and saw the balloons first. She went wow while Joy rubbed her eyes, still oblivious. I was holding up my phone to video them and Joy posed for me, thinking I was taking a photo. That’s when she saw the Minnie mouse balloons in the living room. She pointed, jumped and shouted with joy with her jiejie.
Because hubby had covid on Friday, we had to cancel her birthday celebration that was happening on Sunday. However, I still wanted some birthday cheer for her. Moreover, Joy loves singing birthday songs. Hence I arranged a short zoom singalong with family and friends.
Thank you to all who zoomed in with us. I wished it was longer, but it’s hard to coordinate everything by myself and control the two children who couldn’t wait to devour the cake. So busy I forgot to take a photo of the cake before cutting it!
Review of the Cakes
A day before our celebration, my dear friend blessed Joy with a birthday cake from The Icing Room. The cake was tastier than expected, not overly sweet too.
Previously, we got a princess cake for Grace from Bengawan Solo and it was “cheap” and good. It was S$21, more affordable than other fancy and fondant cakes for children. The cake doesn’t lose out in the taste department too. Hence, we got Joy the same cake, except she chose the Minnie mouse cake design. The girls enjoyed the signature pandan cake, although it would have been better with less cream. Most importantly, they get to have their favourite characters on the cake.
Review of All Things Delicious
On Saturday morning, I was busy managing-the-two-monkeys and disinfecting-the-whole-house because of Covid. On top of that, I was liaising with our party guests and All Things Delicious for the catering because of our situation.
- I called All Things Delicious (“ATD”) at their opening hour. “We will get back to you in a while,” the person on the other end said. They called back only a few hours later to tell me that they couldn’t change the catering date, citing that the food had already been marinated. Already?
- Would have appreciated a change of dates based on compassionate grounds, even with a small fee. I didn’t want the food to go to waste because of the cancelled party. Our guests didn’t dare to meet us.
- Well, at least ATD offered a complimentary change of delivery location and timing, although it didn’t help much because our party was cancelled. We kept the same time and location.
- To avoid food wastage, I wanted to pack the food and bless others. Hence, I called ATD again for takeaway containers. Food came, containers not seen. 🙁
- The food was quite good, but the palate is a risky bet for the children. My children didn’t really like the spices. Though the hummus dip and bread were a hit with them.
- The food quantity is true to their suggested 4-6 pax. I booked with the mentality that catering food usually has more than the stated pax. So in hindsight, good thing the party didn’t go through, because I didn’t cater enough for them. 😛
A letter to Joy
I hardly record Joy’s milestones, so this is going to be a lengthy recap of her first two years in life.
Time flies with you in our lives. Blink, and you have sprouted from a newborn to being a toddler. Whenever I hear about your developmental issues, there is always lingering anxiety about whether they are the effects of the antibiotics or x-rays during the prenatal period. I prayed hard as I heard that your head and weight were not growing as much as they should be on the chart, or when I observed that you were slower in speech compared to jiejie or your peers. Or when I was told that your eyesight is near myopia. Okay, this I blamed it on dim light for bedtime stories, jiejie’s screentime and the onslaught of screen exposure during our Paris trip. Then again, deep down, I know you will blossom well with God’s grace.
“She’s a good eater,” “It’s so satisfying to see her eat,” we hear from others as you gobbled down your food. You especially like soups, but hard foods are not really your thing. You can’t stand food you dislike on the side of your plate. You have to get it off, even if it means throwing it on the floor.
Your motor skills are commendable too. People at the playground would often praise or gap at your skills. I thought jiejie is an adept risk-taker climber, but with her as your role model, you climb higher than when jiejie was at your age. Up to the top of the chin-up bar with steady steps, you stood there and took in the view. Without warning and fear, you jumped off to hang by the bar. You are quite hardy to knocks and falls too, hardly a cry unless it’s really a bad fall or knocks.
Even so, as the baby of the family, you are still a baby in my mind instead of a toddler. It’s only when you started speaking lots more when you are near two years old, that I realised you have grown up. You were absorbing so much before you speak.
You jumped excitedly at the sight of Mickey Mouse. Eh, why? Ah! The Mickey Mouse and friends show we watched in Disneyland. Many times, you were excited to hear the plane in the sky or hear the word “plane” in conversations. Pointing to yourself, you said “Meimei, plane.” “You want to fly on a plane?” You nodded your head. You might forget the specifics of our Paris trip when you grow up, but I believed you have soaked up the experience for your growing and learning journey.
We left the 18-month old you at Sunday school with jiejie. The teachers couldn’t handle your screams and called us. So we stopped forcing you to go. A few weeks later, we tried again and braced ourselves. You waved goodbye and walked in with confidence. Shortly, after it was your first day at childcare. I also didn’t expect you to adjust so quickly too. The teachers loved to have you in class, you’re such a cutie and a joy. You follow instructions well in school too, although not so much at home, such as refusing to keep your shoes.
You are strong-willed, knowing what you want or don’t want. Things you don’t want, you make a loud fuss to refuse. For example, you refuse to drink milk unless the plastic that holds the straw is removed from the milk packet. If not, you use smart tactics like keeping toys slowly during our clean up time, leaving me to do the bulk of the work. Or closing your mouth tight or struggle much when the toothbrush approaches.
Moreover, you know what you want. You choose your own outfits and insist on your fashion. You have quite a temper when you don’t get your way. Things get thrown. Screams get loud enough for people within 5 metres radius. Recently you engage jiejie in a catfight whenever you are unhappy with her — you pull jiejie’s hair, grabbed and scratched her face.
When things are not done your way, you would restart the process. Daddy carried you out of the high chair when you had wanted me. You screamed for him to put you back inside, I had to be the one to carry you out. Or when I carried you halfway up the long flight of stairs you wanted to climb, you screamed and wrestled out of me to go back down. You wanted to climb all the way up by yourself from step 1.
Although you get angry loud and fast, you simmer out pretty fast. You have intense emotions. Thus, when swung to the other side of the pendulum, you are a joy to take care of. Sometimes out of the blue, you would smile or laugh out loud, bounce in your steps, and clap. You smiled or laughed loud enough to make people turn their heads to comment, “So happy ah”. Your jubilant expression, your endearing smile, your joyful mood, colour our lives.
Finger to your cheek, that’s the photo pose you came up with. You also like to draw yourself — on clothes and body and stick stickers all over yourself too. Things you do to crack us up. You flash a cheeky look often too. Cheeky actions are your forte, like turning your head away in a peekaboo style when daddy wants to kiss you. If you don’t understand our questions or pretend not to know, you will go, “Huh?” like an adult.
Like your emotions, you’re in dilemma at times though, like wanting to get close to dogs but yet scared at the same time. So you had me carry you near to it instead. You like songs but don’t really like bedtime songs. You like to climb and jump, but sometimes you rather sit and be an observer during outdoor play. You warm up to other children fast but you can also happily play on your own if the big kids play by themselves.
Nevertheless, you love companionship and are friendly to people you meet. You are a fun-loving girl. As a water baby, you always love a splashing good time. “Kick, kick, kick (water),” that’s your code phrase for swimming. You would run to your swim class, jump at the sight of the pool and jump into the water. Before you turned two, you could even dive in to take the diving stick from the floor.
Sorry I could not devote as much attention and resources to you as much as when jiejie was younger. I know you always try to get my attention whenever I am going through the lessons with jiejie. So in my recent attempt to engage you, I was surprised at your interest in the flashcards. I see a keen interest in learning sparkling in your eyes.
Even without the same to give you, you have one more person loving you since young — your jiejie. You like to follow what jiejie does as well. Continue to love and enjoy each other. You can be such a sweetheart to us too. You pass jiejie tissue when she is crying. You hug me when I am angry. I pray you two will be best friends.
I pray that you will grow up to be a beautiful princess who will bring much love and joy to others and yourself. Be filled with wisdom and grace to steward what God has placed in your hands.
I love to keep on holding your hands and carrying you when we walk the streets. Let’s stick to holding hands, you are getting heavier by day now! Speaking of which, there was a long period of time, especially so in Paris, when you only wanted me (not papa, not jiejie) to carry you, push your stroller and do things for you. You would turn around to check and if I was not the one behind the stroller, you screamed. I am your dedicated “slave”. Haha.
Nevertheless, I count my blessings that you still want me to stick close to you. Thank you for growing up so well. I pray you will thrive in your health, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Never forget how much I love you. I want to keep filling your life with many of my kisses and hugs as long as I can. I love you.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.John 15:9-11
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